Over the last few days, many rooted Android owners reported that the Netflix app was showing up as incompatible on the Play Store on their devices. Sideloading the app, however, posed no issues and continued to work just fine.
Now, Netflix has confirmed that with the v5.0 update to its app, the company has started using Widevine DRM from Google. This means that devices not Google-certified or those that have been tampered in any way i.e. rooted or have their bootloader unlocked will no longer show up as compatible with the app.
The full statement from Netflix is as follows:
With our latest 5.0 release, we now fully rely on the Widevine DRM provided by Google; therefore, many devices that are not Google-certified or have been altered will no longer work with our latest app and those users will no longer see the Netflix app in the Play Store.
The change log of the update also makes it clear that it will only work on devices certified by Google and meet all the requirements of running Android.
Widevine is a DRM technology made by Google that is available across mobile and desktop platforms. The DRM technology categorises devices into three different security levels. Google uses the same DRM technology for Android Pay to prevent it from working on rooted Android devices.
Netflix is only blocking its app from being installed on rooted Android devices directly from the Play Store. You can still download the APK of the app from third-party sources and use it without any issues. And if you want, you can also use Magisk to bypass the SafetyNet protection in check so as to directly download Netflix from the Play Store.